23 June 2006
Around the middle of June I received a large commission from the Chronicle of Higher Education. I don't remember if these were all for the same supplement, or if they ended up in two different places. Some of them were regarding financial aid, and were finished in my more traditional scratchboard style, and these were a variety of sizes, depending on where they would fall in the publication. Others were in a lighter cartoon style, and seemed to be concerning a different aspect of college admissions.
Also in the mix, were a number of small spots that I seem to remember would accompany a story about different humorous ways in which potential students tried to impress the admissions officer. I think I did a pretty good job of keeping these all consistent in style and tone, and I ended up with some nice pieces out of the assignment.
The illustrations, from top to bottom: First, likely a piece on using your guidance counselor to navigate the 'jungle' of college admissions.
Second, one of the 'admissions officers' illustrations, about 'landing the top students', then under that, one of the 'humorous student' spots. Then another larger illustration, this one about 'affirmative action' no doubt, specifically about female minority students. Below that, another of the 'admissions officer' illustrations, and then another of the 'humorous student' illos.
I don't quite remember what the illustration to the left was regarding, but I do remember having my wife pose for me, holding a rolled up newspaper or something to signify the torch. One of the rare times that one of the pictures she poses for actually ends up looking like her to a certain degree.
The above illustration was no doubt concerned with students who take a 'different path' to college. I remember having trouble with the 'road surface'. I didn't want it to be solid black, but then again, I don't think the solution I came up with was entirely successful either. Need to do some work on that in the future I think. Also in the mix, I was asked to come up with a series of small spots under the general heading of 'students and finance', and the two to the right and left above (and another one further down the page) fell under this category.
The above illustration, I don't quite remember what the topic was, perhaps about changing schools, or changing majors. The illustration to the left was another of the 'humorous student' series.
To the right is another of the 'general finance' spots (my favorite of the bunch, due to its simplicity), and the illustration below is another of the 'admissions officer' cartoons. This extended project certainly kept me busy for a couple weeks or so, and it was greatly appreciated, falling during what is usually for me a slow time of year.
18 June 2006
The top half of June brought a wide variety of assignments, and a few strange ones as well. I had a rare 'western' fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. I got a note from the author a few months later when it ran, thanking me for the nice work. Always nice to get a little feedback, it happens pretty rarely.
Barrons assigned a long vertical piece and requested some sort of 'runner' preparing for a long haul as the concept. Turned out pretty nice, and fit the space well.
And had a few small spots for The Wall Street Journal, a same day color piece on 'standing out at board meetings' (pictured below), and a few 'health care' column spots, one on brain MRIs and another on the health benefits of sugarcane. (pictured below)
For the same client, I also had a spot on the rash of 'superhero movies' that would be invading the theaters this summer, and the growing trend of simultaneously releasing them to IMAX venues. (pictured below)
An assignment for Highlights also fell during this time, this one having to do with a children's board game activity. (pictured right)
An assignment from Honolulu magazine concerned a boisterous dog and his transplanted owner. (pictured below) In addition to these, I also had a pair of illustrations for America magazine. The first one was pretty straightforward. I had done a similar piece for them in the months previous, and they simply wanted another one to match but with a different pose and layout. (the bible illustration below). The other assignment was a little different, and a little troubling in a couple of ways which I will explain.
The article was pretty interesting, and well reasoned. It concerned a major religion that seems to have a problem with getting bent out of joint when someone ridicules them in print. Recent examples include the author of a satirical book who had to live under a death threat for years (and who I heard give a very interesting talk on PBS right around this time on this very same subject), and more recently the riots and deaths that occurred because a cartoon appeared about this religion in a newspaper overseas. The article bravely stated that this religion needs to grow up and get a sense of humor, and that the rest of us, as a whole, need to stand up to these thin skinned bullies, and I was proud to find myself in the position to provide an image for this essay. I supplied what I thought was a subtle, but powerful image.
Ironically, the publication didn't want to offend anyone, and had me soften the image by removing the item on the end of the gentleman's nose. I saved a version of both, just because I liked the original version better. (the "I heart NY" button was an editor's suggestion, one that I didn't quite understand, but included anyway)
02 June 2006
The above illustration was for the Wall Street Journal. I don't, however remember what the topic was for this one. Airline regulations maybe? (but then why the little golf carts at his feet?) Anyhow, featuring our old cliched friend Uncle Sam (plus I also provided a few tiny 'airplane & helicopter spots' that they could use throughout the article (they can be found in the 'transportation' morgue).
An assignment from Barrons came across my desk in early June, this one being an illustration of that old phrase "when the other shoe drops". I normally have a hard time with shoes (ladies shoes especially), but when that's the job, you knuckle down, do the research, and give it all you've got. I'm happy to say that this is without a doubt the best pair of shoes I have ever rendered.
An odd one about 'home respiration' for Log Home Living came through around this time. I also had a portrait assignment for the Journal. The president had just appointed a new treasury secretary, and it was requested that I put him on the new ten dollar bill. Dollars are tricky, you don't want to just 'copy them', so you do little tricks with the rendering to make them look fairly accurate, but at the same time unique. I really liked how the portrait came out here, i really felt I captured the dollar bill portraiture style pretty well. The only problem came when I tried to run the illustration through the photoshop program (as it is my routine, to both put it into a recognizable file format and adjust colors when needed). Turns out that photoshop has some sort of built in counterfitting filter and it wouldn't let me open the file, even though it was only half of a dollar, with the wrong face on it, and rendered all over with my own signature scratchboard marks. Very annoying, I ended up having to break it into 4 pieces, flipping the image and then putting it back together on the other end just to avoid the filter.